Is Russia about to invade Ukraine?

posted at 7:01 pm on August 2, 2014 by Jazz Shaw

Given the pattern of the cable news cycle, you might think that events in Ukraine had pretty much ceased to be of interest were it not for the downed airliner. To be fair, Israel is the hot news of the moment and, aside from the plane investigation, there haven’t been that many huge developments on the Russian border. But that would clearly change if the Russians launched a serious military invasion over the border. Rick Moran wonders if recent moves by Putin’s forces indicate that this is just what’s about to happen.

Let’s put it this way: Russia appears to have the capability to invade Ukraine any time it wishes. The forces are in place, the tanks are gassed up, the only thing apparently missing is the “Go” code from Vladimir Putin. And that could come this weekend, next weekemd – or never.

Rick is looking at the analysis of James Miller, who sees more than defensive measures on the part of the Russians.

Right now Russia is moving troops, armor, and advanced antiaircraft missiles toward the border with Ukraine. In the last 48 hours, dozens of videos have been uploaded to social-media sites that show Russian armor very close to the border, many of them confirmed to be within mere kilometers of Ukraine.

On Thursday, my team at The Interpreter definitively geolocated Russian armor only 2,000 meters (and closing) from the border and a Buk, the same type of missile that likely took down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, only a few hours from being within range of Ukraine’s air force. Columns of tanks, marked with the same painted numbers and flat, pale-green paint we’ve seen in Ukraine since (at least) June 20th, were spotted moving en masse toward a key border crossing. Some Ukrainian journalists are reporting that at least some of this armor has already crossed the border.

Is it just precautionary or is Putin really getting ready to make a move? Tough to say at this point, really, and our previous efforts at either reading Putin’s mind or looking into his soul haven’t worked out all that well. I suppose it’s possible, since Vlad doesn’t seem to be terribly concerned with anything that Barack Obama says or does, and sanctions thus far don’t seem to have spurred much action from him aside from hastening some business deals with China.

But events in the rest of the world are not static, and Putin is surely aware of that. First of all, Ukraine might not be as much of a pushover as they appeared just a few months ago. Time is reporting that their military ranks have swelled and their fighting force has become more formidable in an impressively short period of time. Also, those sanctions might become more of a pressing issue if they continue to expand, with Japan being the latest nation to look at a serious financial strike against Moscow.

Russia isn’t entirely isolated yet, and some of the traditional bad actors on the world stage will continue to support them in spirit, even if they can’t offer much in the way of substance. (Think Iran, Syria, North Korea and others.) But if the economic crunch is growing to the point where they really feel the pinch and a quick victory in Ukraine is no longer assured, I get the sense that Putin won’t risk a black eye on a gambit that might fail.


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Squirrel!?!?

LoganSix on August 2, 2014 at 7:07 PM

0bama & Lurch need to stay out of this…

OmahaConservative on August 2, 2014 at 7:09 PM

Is Russia about to invade Ukraine?

.
What in the world would stop them?

O-boo-boo?

John “Let Me Kerry Your Water for You”?

Maybe … if Ukraine suddenly declared Eastern Ukraine part of Gaza …???

Nope. Not only does the bear shit in your woods … he doesn’t care if you don’t like it.

PolAgnostic on August 2, 2014 at 7:11 PM

Is Russia about to invade Ukraine?

Didn’t they already do that?

joekenha on August 2, 2014 at 7:13 PM

I expect alarms are going off right now and HotAir’s Putin fluffers will be here within minutes.

slickwillie2001 on August 2, 2014 at 7:13 PM

No, because this is just not how countries act in the 21st Century.

Mark1971 on August 2, 2014 at 7:13 PM

Didn’t they already do that?

joekenha on August 2, 2014 at 7:13 PM

Well, not if they call it Crimea.

slickwillie2001 on August 2, 2014 at 7:13 PM

Who are they?

cozmo on August 2, 2014 at 7:18 PM

Let’s hope so. It is the only way to stop the bloody civil war instigated by Odumbo’s subserviates.

Masih ad-Dajjal on August 2, 2014 at 7:26 PM

Russia getting bogged down in the Ukraine. The worm turns. Sweet.

vnvet on August 2, 2014 at 7:29 PM

Not according to The Atlantic
Is Putin looking for a way out of Ukraine?

Flange on August 2, 2014 at 7:33 PM

0bama & Lurch need to stay out of this…
OmahaConservative on August 2, 2014 at 7:09 PM

I have to say that I am amazed by your comment. I would have bet that for sure you would be here asking we send jet fighters and lend soldiers in Ukraine to help out.

coolrepublica on August 2, 2014 at 7:40 PM

What has Putin got to fear from King Barack or the UN? A “sternly worded” memo?

GarandFan on August 2, 2014 at 7:42 PM

coolrepublica on August 2, 2014 at 7:40 PM

Only stupid people like you would think that was even a possibility worth mentioning.

cozmo on August 2, 2014 at 7:43 PM

GarandFan on August 2, 2014 at 7:42 PM

hashtags

cozmo on August 2, 2014 at 7:43 PM

I have to say that I am amazed by your comment. I would have bet that for sure you would be here asking we send jet fighters and lend soldiers in Ukraine to help out.

coolrepublica on August 2, 2014 at 7:40 PM

No wonder you are called FOOLrebulica in these precincts…

OmahaConservative on August 2, 2014 at 7:46 PM

Won’t be surprising if it does happen.

cat_owner on August 2, 2014 at 7:46 PM

They’re on the wrong side of history…

blue13326 on August 2, 2014 at 7:46 PM

What has Putin got to fear from King Barack or the UN? A “sternly worded” memo?

GarandFan on August 2, 2014 at 7:42 PM

The only ones who have anything to fear from the UN are the NYC Parking Authority.

And there are things, well short of war, that the US could do (which is, of course, aside from whether or not Obama would do it).

One that immediately comes to mind is put the nation on a war footing to encourage production, liquefaction, and export of natural gas to Europe. That would put a big ol’ dent in Putin’s little red wagon, right quick…

JohnGalt23 on August 2, 2014 at 7:49 PM

Time to change the name of Kyiv/Kiev again.

Steve Eggleston on August 2, 2014 at 7:50 PM

since Vlad everybody in the world doesn’t seem to be terribly concerned with anything that Barack Obama says or does,

More accurate.

battalion on August 2, 2014 at 7:53 PM

One that immediately comes to mind is put the nation on a war footing to encourage production, liquefaction, and export of natural gas to Europe. That would put a big ol’ dent in Putin’s little red wagon, right quick…

JohnGalt23 on August 2, 2014 at 7:49 PM

Huge. There’s all this argument about whether we should get involved militarily, but if the old evil empire is being reconstituted because of gas receipts, barring European gas imports is our most effective and least costly response. Europe can buy our gas at market price, so everyone’s happy, except the Soviets Russians. Better that then nuclear war that’s for sure.

anotherJoe on August 2, 2014 at 8:00 PM

But if the economic crunch is growing to the point where they really feel the pinch and a quick victory in Ukraine is no longer assured, I get the sense that Putin won’t risk a black eye on a gambit that might fail.

This is Western thinking and what Obama believes. Putin thinks KGB (Soviet Union). I have been expecting an invasion for a week now. Absolutely othing stopping him. We shall see.

dddave on August 2, 2014 at 8:02 PM

All I know is that tens of millions of low rung third worlders have invaded America, with no end in sight, and probably soon to start voting in mass, so I really am having a hard time getting in a big lather about Ukraine’s civil war.

VorDaj on August 2, 2014 at 8:03 PM

I still think the whole thing is just a sort of distraction so that everyone goes along with his absorption of Crimea, but the real answer is probably “whatever makes Putin look good to the Russian voters”.

Count to 10 on August 2, 2014 at 8:03 PM

Absolutely (n)othing stopping him. We shall see.

dddave on August 2, 2014 at 8:02 PM

Putin is the only thing that can stop Putin.

He is weighing the cost/benefit and how much of Ukraine to take. And for the oligarchs to get their money out of western banks.

cozmo on August 2, 2014 at 8:09 PM

I expect alarms are going off right now and HotAir’s Putin fluffers will be here within minutes.

slickwillie2001 on August 2, 2014 at 7:13 PM

He is cunning! He is crafty. He’s not just going to walk in here and say, “Here I am!”

Here I am!!!

PootyPoot on August 2, 2014 at 8:09 PM

I still wonder what Obama meant during the open mic moment when he said he would be more flexible with Putin after the election…

Jack_Burton on August 2, 2014 at 8:09 PM

Somebody help me out. I’m losing track. Is this the 8th or the 9th time Putin is about to invade Ukraine? Or is it about to invade France? In any case, what I want to know is if he is going to invade why doesn’t he invade Mexico or Central America? Or maybe cut out the middle man and invade Imperial City DC?

VorDaj on August 2, 2014 at 8:13 PM

I still wonder what Obama meant during the open mic moment when he said he would be more flexible with Putin after the election…

Jack_Burton on August 2, 2014 at 8:09 PM

Actually Obama got all confused and was thinking Putin was the President of la Raza or the U.S. Chamber of Crony Capitalism.

VorDaj on August 2, 2014 at 8:16 PM

All I know is that tens of millions of low rung third worlders have invaded America, with no end in sight, and probably soon to start voting in mass, so I really am having a hard time getting in a big lather about Ukraine’s civil war.

VorDaj on August 2, 2014 at 8:03 PM

That’s really a major point. One may ask what is in the interest of the United States, what is most likely to keep us secure and free and so forth as far as global threats, but it’s like we are just being invaded and taken over from the inside out, so what’s the pont? Stop the Republican amnesty shill Lamar Alexander!

anotherJoe on August 2, 2014 at 8:17 PM

Vlad will do as he pleases while Obama fires 1200 Army captains, 440 majors , gives away billions in military assets, and flatly refuses to defend our borders.

But, hey, the Obama voters -legal and illegal- get their EBT. And that’s all that matters.

M240H on August 2, 2014 at 8:24 PM

I said he would when crimeria happened and people here (politely) disagreed with me.
I also said I hope I am wrong and I still do.

dmacleo on August 2, 2014 at 8:25 PM

0bama & Lurch need to stay out of this…

OmahaConservative on August 2, 2014 at 7:09 PM

The United States is signatory to a treaty with both Russia and the Ukraine guaranteeing the Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty over that territory.

I’d say we have an obligation to the Ukraine as a result of having signed that treaty. If our signature weren’t on the paper, we would have no obligation.

If we don’t honor our signature, then there are plenty of other papers with our signature upon them which will be viewed as worthless.

You might not find that important, but I do. This President has already screwed over the Poles and the Czechs, and I guess screwing over the Ukrainians would be par for the course.

But it’s amusing to see the Paulbots making common cause with Obama.

unclesmrgol on August 2, 2014 at 8:36 PM

Ukraine’s civil war.

VorDaj on August 2, 2014 at 8:03 PM

It’s not a civil war. The paint on the tanks gives that much away.

unclesmrgol on August 2, 2014 at 8:38 PM

Is the Pope Catholic?

Do bears $hit in the woods?

Is Obama the president?

Three months ago I said that all Ukrainians that don’t want to be under Russia’s control to get the f*ck out…yesterday. That goes to 100000000000X now.

jukin3 on August 2, 2014 at 8:45 PM


The United States is signatory to a treaty with both Russia and the Ukraine guaranteeing the Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty over that territory.

I’d say we have an obligation to the Ukraine as a result of having signed that treaty. If our signature weren’t on the paper, we would have no obligation.

If we don’t honor our signature, then there are plenty of other papers with our s

ignature upon them which will be viewed as worthless.

unclesmrgol on August 2, 2014 at 8:36 PM

And what is your concrete suggestion – invade Crimea? Nuke Moscow?

We’re all waiting to hear you specify the exact measures you are willing the US take

Masih ad-Dajjal on August 2, 2014 at 8:48 PM

Easy people easy. We have team SMART Power!!!111!!!elebinty and don’t do stupid $hit in charge of the USA also we have those military power houses in the EU. BTW, no armored units in Germany means Germany will do what Putin says. The NG is important but tanks, tanks man.

One last note, Obama said he wanted to undo all that Reagan accomplished. He done it to the domestic economy. Now he has succeeded in Reagan’s foreign policy accomplishments.

jukin3 on August 2, 2014 at 8:49 PM

Masih ad-Dajjal on August 2, 2014 at 8:48 PM

This is juvenile. It is like asking now that we are three hundred feet away from that iceberg what do you suggest we do?

The idea is to stop Putin’s next grab. Gonna be tough when our affirmative action president and his mentally challenged folks don’t have the slightest clue.

jukin3 on August 2, 2014 at 8:52 PM

Holy Moses
Obama’s been deceived

Aplombed on August 2, 2014 at 8:52 PM

unclesmrgol on August 2, 2014 at 8:36 PM

budapest memorandum, a diplomatic agreement not a treaty, never ratified in senate. the agreement not worth the paper its printed on as its is not binding and even if it was it never spelled out what we actually would do if something happened.

dmacleo on August 2, 2014 at 8:57 PM

I have to say that I am amazed by your comment. I would have bet that for sure you would be here asking we send jet fighters and lend soldiers in Ukraine to help out.

coolrepublica on August 2, 2014 at 7:40 PM

Belligerent, expansionist dictators show up in history with almost boring regularity. Strongly worded letters have little effect on such men.

Knowing this, statesmen in the past have done all they could to form a unified front. There would be a gathering of nations, with determined leaders saying as one voice, ‘This far and no farther.’ There would be no sales of state-of-the-art helicopter carriers or other advanced hardware to the aggressor country. There would be trade embargoes. There would be a dramatic increase in military expenditures, with readiness ramped up and training intensified.

Why? Because Putin sees opportunities everywhere–in Moldova, for example, with the Baltic States beyond ripe for the plucking, and that’s just for starters. What’s to stop him?

So I have to ask, at what point do you and the Ron Paul libertarians and the other America Firster isolationists say, ‘This far and no farther?’ Venice Beach?

We need an assertive foreign policy guided by an overarching strategic vision. We need allies who believe in us, who are ready to back whatever play we make. We need capable leadership. Right now we have none of those things. We aren’t ready. But I’m telling you: we need to get ready, with a quickness. Bad times are coming our way.

troyriser_gopftw on August 2, 2014 at 9:48 PM

Just watching the ’83 TV series, ‘Winds of War’ on Netflix, 2nd episode at the Russian invasion of Poland. Some of the commentary – German side – as to Russian motivation the excuse was offered, ‘To protect the Ukrainian nationals.’

Nothing has changed.

Willys on August 2, 2014 at 10:42 PM

I remember somebody else who kept upping the ante.

When the Limeys and Frawgs declared war, but still did nothing, he turned the war on them.

And almost won.

formwiz on August 2, 2014 at 10:42 PM

MOSCOW — The United States has effectively canceled the final phase of a Europe-based missile defense system that was fiercely opposed by Russia and cited repeatedly by the Kremlin as a major obstacle to cooperation on nuclear arms reductions and other issues.
___________________________________________________

Russian leaders on several occasions used meetings with President Obama to press their complaints about the missile defense program. At one such meeting, in South Korea last March, Mr. Obama was heard on a live microphone telling the outgoing Russian president Dmitri A. Medvedev in a private aside that he would have “more flexibility” to negotiate on missile defense after the November presidential election in November.
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/17/world/europe/with-eye-on-north-korea-us-cancels-missile-defense-russia-opposed.html?_r=0

Putin knows exactly who – and what – he is dealing with in The White House.

tanked59 on August 2, 2014 at 10:45 PM

Japan’s going to do whatever it takes to please the US, especially after India rejected their treaty.

ezspirit on August 2, 2014 at 10:52 PM

Why? Because Putin sees opportunities everywhere–in Moldova, for example, with the Baltic States beyond ripe for the plucking, and that’s just for starters. What’s to stop him?

All their external debt would stop him. Russia doesn’t need any of that. Putin has been working too hard to rebuild the Russian economy to swallow up a bunch of debt-riddled former satellites. He tried to make a deal with Ukraine, giving them an alternative besides the IMF, before chaos erupted.

Putin did not destabilize Ukraine. They did it all on their own, and the only thing he cares about is Sevastopol. He had a lease on that port until 2047, too, and Crimea is mostly Russians living there.

ezspirit on August 2, 2014 at 10:59 PM

Putin did not destabilize Ukraine. They did it all on their own, and the only thing he cares about is Sevastopol. He had a lease on that port until 2047, too, and Crimea is mostly Russians living there.

ezspirit on August 2, 2014 at 10:59 PM

You’re either being disingenuous or you’re not aware of the facts. Putin has been bribing every the leaders of every significant political faction in the Ukraine for years. The last Ukrainian election was, among other things, a referendum on corruption and Russian influence buying. I gather the primary purpose of Russian bribes was to sway the Ukraine away from the EU.

Putin began a destabilization campaign against the Ukraine the moment his man was driven from office. Yes, he is keen on keeping Russian port access. He is also keen on claiming and keeping Crimea’s energy resources, which are reported to be substantial.

And insofar as ‘the mostly Russians living there’ argument is concerned, I seem to have heard that argument somewhere before, something something Sudeten Germans or something like that. Comes to that, I’m guessing Putin could care less about the status of Crimean Russians but cares a great deal about geography and oil.

No more Putin apologists, please. That he is more cunning than Obama is no big claim to fame. I’m a nobody from Nowhere, Indiana and I suspect I’m more cunning than Obama.

troyriser_gopftw on August 2, 2014 at 11:40 PM

Of course we could have met the Ukrainians’ early requests for more armor and missiles, but Obama refused. Wants to reassure Putin of his “flexibility,” no doubt.

The filthy traitors who support Obama also support Putin because they long for the resurrection of international communism.

Adjoran on August 2, 2014 at 11:54 PM

And insofar as ‘the mostly Russians living there’ argument is concerned, I seem to have heard that argument somewhere before, something something Sudeten Germans or something like that. Comes to that, I’m guessing Putin could care less about the status of Crimean Russians but cares a great deal about geography and oil.

No more Putin apologists, please. That he is more cunning than Obama is no big claim to fame. I’m a nobody from Nowhere, Indiana and I suspect I’m more cunning than Obama.

troyriser_gopftw on August 2, 2014 at 11:40 PM

Oh good lord. Something something Sudeten eh? Russia has had control of Crimea since 1783. Go read a poem about a charge of a light brigade for more edumcation on top of that info.

But I guess I’m just a Putin apologist.

oryguncon on August 3, 2014 at 1:09 AM

Putin did not destabilize Ukraine. They did it all on their own, and the only thing he cares about is Sevastopol. He had a lease on that port until 2047, too, and Crimea is mostly Russians living there.

ezspirit on August 2, 2014 at 10:59 PM

Good, but not quite there.

Putin began a destabilization campaign against the Ukraine the moment his man was driven from office.

troyriser_gopftw on August 2, 2014 at 11:40 PM

Do you even read what you write before you post? It was a destabilization campaign begun by the West that resulted in “Putin’s man” being driven from office. Unfortunately for the West and Ukraine, Putin was having none of it. Western interference with Ukraine’s affairs gave Putin the green light to move to protect Russian interests. Georgia should have been a big reminder as to how Putin would react once a certain line was crossed.

Ukraine is a bankrupt wreck. It was a bankrupt wreck before Putin bared his fangs. If Ukraine is building up its forces, where are the resources coming from? I’ll give you one guess.

I don’t doubt the Russia might invade Ukraine, but I think the chance is slim. Germany and Russia are negotiating hard over the issue right now, with minimal American involvement. Russia has a history of massing troops during conflicts/negotiations, without having much intention of using them, as a bargaining chip. Of course, unlike Obama, he doesn’t hold a press conference to announce that the troops are only for show, so don’t sweat it.

Joseph K on August 3, 2014 at 8:52 AM

Is Russia about to invade Ukraine?

“About to”?

Nomennovum on August 3, 2014 at 9:27 AM

Is Russia about to invade Ukraine?

Apparently, most Ukranians figure it’s better to be Red than Dead judging by their anti-draft protesting.

Dr. ZhivBlago on August 3, 2014 at 2:55 PM

But I guess I’m just a Putin apologist.

oryguncon on August 3, 2014 at 1:09 AM

Yes, I’ve read ‘Charge of the Light Brigade’ and know that Crimea and Ukraine have historically been within Russia’s sphere of influence. Yes, I realize there are substantial pro-Russian factions within Crimea and Ukraine. And yes, you are a Putin apologist. None of those factors justify Russian destabilization campaigns against the Ukraine or the bribery of high officials in the Ukraine–or, for that matter, the attempted assassination of foreign leaders or the murder of Russian reporters and others brave enough to speak out against the regime.

The only reason Gary Kasparov is still alive and free is due to his fame as one of the greatest chess players in the history of the planet. Others aren’t so lucky.

And about that Sudeten German reference I made. It was a valid comparison. I brought it up because belligerent, expansionist dictator-types seemingly bring it up as a rationalization for just about any forcible annexation of whole or part of a neighboring country. Putin’s using it as a selling point for the home audience. That foreigners are buying it is just cake.

troyriser_gopftw on August 3, 2014 at 6:46 PM

Is Russia about to invade Ukraine?

STUPID Question – They already have!

Southern Ukraine is already in Russia’s hands. Russians are now in Eastern Ukraine – there is no doubt, considering the sophistication of the Russian Surface-to-Air missile system used to bring down the airliner, that Russian troops operated the missile system and carried out the strike.

easyt65 on August 4, 2014 at 8:20 AM

Is Russia about to invade Ukraine?

Yup!!!

Next question….

landlines on August 4, 2014 at 12:43 PM

Is Russia about to invade Ukraine?

Moon to Earth … They have already.
Stupid Americans

Missilengr on August 4, 2014 at 1:06 PM